12 September 2017
Ageing population and weak institutions for ASEAN, among others, have been cited as significant factors hindering the progress of ASEAN’s economic integration, which was initiated by the ASEAN Economic Community, according to a former ASEAN secretary-general.
Ong Keng Yong, who served as ASEAN secretary-general from 2003 to 2008, said Singapore and Thailand are two countries that are severely affected by an ageing population due to declining birth rates.
Ong also calls for more authority to be given to the ASEAN secretariat as he lamented its weak influence in bringing about economic integration within component countries in the region.
Currently, Ong said detractors of the initiative are concerned that more developed countries within the region will benefit the most out of the economic integration, coupled with rising nationalistic sentiments and protectionist policies.
Ong argues that in order to overcome nationalistic sentiments and protectionist tendencies, ASEAN should encourage building more people-to-people ties among the component countries in the region.
And the secretary-general should represent and speak on behalf of the whole ASEAN economic community, for instance, in promoting investments in ASEAN from the rest of the world, he added.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 13/09/2017